Exam question omitted Zakir is a wanted man
Published on: Sunday, February 16, 2020
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UNIVERSITI Malaysia Perlis (UniMAP) was not totally off track with the question on Zakir Naik recently. It is a relevant issue that affects ethnic relations in this country. The question was inappropriate because of the multiple choice answers provided.

It also left out the very significant fact that this preacher is wanted by the authorities in his country of origin for criminal offences. It would have been prudent to allow students to provide subjective answers to the question.

It is a fact that this preacher made biased and seditious remarks about Indians (Hindus) and the Chinese in Malaysia. However, such remarks are not unfamiliar here as a few of our own politicians have also made similar statements.

The issue is also about non-compliance with the rule of law, especially when we have an extradition treaty with India. Why we choose not to act on this is bewildering.

We should hand him over to the Indian authorities and trust that their criminal justice system, upon which ours was actually codified, will be fair. And we expect the same respect and trust from the global platform in our criminal justice system.

The reason given for the controversy over the UniMAP exam paper is that the issue has been taken out of context! How many times have we heard this before, especially from those who realised that they have got themselves into a tight corner?

Even more alarming is the lack of urgency in taking action on those responsible. The author of the question must be probed for any underlying intentions to convey his own personal extreme views, if any. The “out of context” reason can imply that some educationalists share the same views when it comes to this controversial preacher.

An independent inquiry should be held to ascertain all the facts. Only after establishing the inappropriateness of such a question and the limited answers provided can proper action be taken against those responsible.

The Education Ministry must not take this matter lightly. We cannot have extreme lines of thought influencing our youths, especially in a pluralistic society such as ours. Nevertheless, healthy and fair argument should be allowed to thrive.

Our education must incorporate the reality that within two decades, almost the whole of our population would comprise those born after Malaysia Day in 1963. New Malaysia is in dire need of a statesman who understands this so as to be able to lead all Malaysians to attain our highest potential together without fear or favour.

The sensitivity of all Malaysians must be given fair consideration. The education system must take cognisance of this and move in tandem to a higher level of administration especially in our institutions of tertiary learning.

The old guards in Putrajaya are outdated and still stuck in a time warp. They need to see the bigger picture for Malaysia to thrive and progress in harmony as one nation. We have to stop the religious and racial rhetoric, and we need leaders who can neutralise these sensitivities and focus on factors that can unite all Malaysians.


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